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What U.S. Jews Can Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving
The struggles will continue into 2024 and beyond, solace can be found in the way that Americans voted on Nov 8■ Are American Jewish leaders about to endorse a supremacist, autocratic Israel? ■ Israel’s elite are threatening to flee. Enough already
At first, it doesn’t seem there is much reason for American Jews to give thanks as they stuff their turkeys and leaven their pumpkin pies.
It has been an undeniably difficult month. Hateful antisemitic speech and its consequences dominate popular culture thanks to Kanye West and basketball star Kyrie Irving. Days before the Thanksgiving holiday, words nearly transformed into action when a violent antisemitic attack on a synagogue was foiled by New York City police, sparing Jews from the trauma experienced by the LGBTQ community after the Colorado nightclub shooting.
At the same time, the November 1 election of a new right-wing Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu – reliant on religious, right-wing extremists like Itamar Ben-Gvir – bodes ill for the future relationships with the Biden administration and the American Jewish community.
On the heels of that election, the rhetoric leading up to the midterms gave U.S. Jews the jitters – notably the extreme positions of some Republican candidates who openly called for “Christian nationalism,” the dissolution of church and state boundaries, and January 6-fueled election denial. On the eve of the election, amid expectations of a “red wave,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, confessed his the midterm election results would threaten “the robust democratic underpinnings of our country and the separation of church and state” which traditionally protected American Jews.